There are certain movies that just stand out to you. Certain ones that speak to you, excite you, energize you. Maybe they feel relevant to something you're going through at the time, maybe they remind you of something you love, maybe they keep you on your toes and your adrenaline goes through the roof, maybe they just make you laugh really hard. But we all have those 5-star-netflix worthy movies.
But for me, they are few and far between. Over the past year, I can say I was mesmerized and intrigued by the Norwegian film The Bothersome Man (dir. Jen Lien and writer Per H.V. Schreiner), which apparently had been first written as a radio play and Schreiner called it a "horror film for radio." I didn't think of it as a horror movie, but I was riveted through every moment of stillness, sound or action.
I chose this movie primarily because Netflix guessed I would rate it 4.9 stars. I hadn't even seen a preview for the movie (and if I had seen it, I don't know if I would have been as likely to give it a try, as it seemed much more like a thriller than a dark comedy). But, Netflix is pretty darn accurate, so my husband and I gave it a try. I made some homemade popcorn (yes, I'm into this now--heating up some coconut oil on a frying pan, tossing in the kernels, topping with pink salt and pepper, and having an outstanding movie treat. Watching it pop is actually fun!), the kids were off to bed, and we sat down to be entertained.
From the moment the movie started, I was transported to this other world. The colors, the sounds, the visuals, the stylized way of speaking--and how they all went all with each other so well--they immediately created a darkly absurd kind of existence and I was captivated. Even though it's a sort of thriller, I couldn't help from smiling because 1) it's a dark comedy so there are funny parts (even though my husband was not laughing nearly as much as I was) 2) I love that weird excitement I find in translations (if you read my post from a few months ago, you know I have a soft spot for translations). and 3) Thrillers are exciting.
I won't give much away about the story, other than it's about an unnoticeable man who meets his charismatic and dominating doppelganger. Honestly, I felt like I'd seen this story before and you can probably guess where it would go yourself. I could predict the general idea of what would happen, and maybe this is why the reviews don't seem that glowing for the film (I haven't ready any reviews, but at a glance, I see it averages about 3 out of 5 stars). But what I loved about it was how Ayoade took the story, captured it, and told it to me exactly how I wanted to be told. The story was already mostly set by the author, but the telling of it was rich and exciting. The fact that I don't believe there were any scenes filmed during the daylight (outside anyway) added to this dark world that was created.
And when the movie ended, my eyes were wide and I felt invigorated. I love this feeling. I don't get it very often, as mentioned, but when I do, it's inspiring (similar feeling after having seen Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Dogville, Magnolia, Dark Days, Love Actually, LOTR, Very Bad Things, Memento, most things by Wes Anderson, I Heart Huckabees, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Okay, so there is a sampling Netflix pooled from to give guess my rating...and I guess I do like a certain-kind-of-thriller-genre.). I think about the movie, I feel completely awake, almost giddy--that natural high. It makes me happy to know there are those out there with similar aesthetics who will keep making movies for us. And happy directors are up for taking some of the classics by these deceased old writers and bringing them to our modern life. Or at least this director did, and did it well. I've only ever seen Submarine, directed by Ayoade (and I did like that movie too), but I am interested to see what project he takes on next.
This movie is not for everyone, but if you happen to rate highly the movies I listed in parenthesis, maybe you too would give it a high score on netflix. Oh, and yes, I gave it 5 stars on netflix. Here's the trailer:
Share your thoughts: What movies get your adrenaline going? What are some of your favorite genres? Did you see The Double? What did you think?